For any profession, employees need professional development. There needs to be a feeling that an organization, or in this case, the restaurant is invested in them and their growth in the culinary world. The food business is evolving, and there will always be a need for diverse skill sets and new techniques. It is fast becoming clear that while there are establishments opening up at a rapid pace, finding employees that have the right skill sets is becoming a challenge.

In order to set yourself apart from the crowd, whether as a restaurant or as an employee within a restaurant, there needs to be constant cultivation of new skills and techniques. It might not seem important to care about what other kitchens need, but thinking about what your kitchen needs – both short-term and long-term, is incredibly important.

There needs to be constant cultivation of new skills and techniques

Hiring talent that is right for you, as well as a good fit is key. This also means that there must be a sincere effort in cultivating a good work environment, and ensuring that your staff has the right tools for the job rather than opting for the cheapest tools. But the ultimate secret in keeping good chefs is to invest in them.

In the article, Why Teaching Butchery Is the Secret to Keeping Good Chefs, the author touches upon several key points that demonstrate the sheer importance of investing in chefs. The articles states that, “We try to take quite inexperienced chefs at the lowest level in the kitchen and train them in all the aspects that we do…We also like to promote from within because it’s good for the culture and good for morale to see you and your colleagues getting promoted.”

There are two important notes to take from this. Not only is there a significant amount of training provided that pushes employees out of their comfort zones, but there is also constant effort to improve overall morale. Once the push has been made to invest in employees, it is also imperative to show them real life examples and incentives of what their newly acquired skill set can bring them.

The author underscores this point, writing that “it’s also about giving someone the opportunity and showing faith in people. If we’re seen to be giving people opportunities and promoting people when we could go external, it means that they’re less likely to look elsewhere because they enjoy working with you and are able to grow and develop.”

In this article, butchery is what the restaurant is offering these inexperienced chefs. But this is just one example of how restaurants should work with their chefs to understand what their needs are, and what measures are needed for long-term, sustainable growth. This benefits both your business, and the employees and makes them feel like they are not just cogs in a machine but nurtured and cared for.

With professional development opportunities though, many establishments are afraid to take the risk. What if it is too successful and chefs end up leaving? What if there is time and resources invested but all it results in is chefs finding other opportunities?

These are certainly risks, but those are associated risks no matter what. Chefs leave restaurants for numerous reasons, most of which are difficult to predict. However,  if these professional development opportunities are not offered, perhaps chefs will get bored and decide to leave where they are challenged and cared for. Giving them the chance to acquire new skills gives them an incentive to stay and use these skills to help grow the establishment for the better.

Giving them the chance to acquire new skills gives them an incentive to stay and use these skills to help grow the establishment for the better.

Ultimately, it may seem like a risky move at first but investing in your people is the best way to show them that they are valued. Both inexperienced and experienced chefs will always benefit from cultivating new skills and directly applying them – whether it is butchery or something else.

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